(In)Visibility in lesbian and gay student organizing: the case of gay student services.

Published: April 1, 2012

Abstract

Drawing on newspaper, movement correspondence, and interview data, I examine the (in)visibility of a lesbian and gay student group, Gay Student Services (GSS), in a hostile university campus in Texas from the mid-1970s through the 1980s. GSS formed to create a safe space for sexual minorities at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and asked university officials to recognize the group officially. TAMU’s resistance to their request forced GSS to file a lawsuit to achieve recognition. Using interviews with past members and archival data, such as newspapers and movement correspondence, I examine how GSS utilized (in)visibility to navigate the hostile environment. By controlling their (in)visibility, GSS members protected the organization from scrutiny and protect members’ safety.

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